I was wondering if someone could tell me what month exactly the weeping pussy willow tree and the lavender twist weeping redbud tree go dormant so Mother Nature can take over her job watering, and how to tell if the trees aren’t diseased?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Lee-Anne in Kentucky: Dormancy begins as the day length begins to shorten. There are different stages of dormancy and environmental conditions that trigger each stage. Temperature and light are the most important contributing factors but water and nutrient levels are also factors. To give you an exact month is difficult since some years the temperatures are warm well into the fall and other years they are not. The two trees you mentioned are deciduous and should be dropping their foliage at this time. When this happens less moisture is required in both newly planted and established trees. If these trees were planted this season they will require 1-2 inches of water per week through the end of the month and longer if the temperatures stay above normal. Otherwise, Mother Nature should supply enough moisture throughout the rest of the fall and winter months. You will want to resume your regular watering schedule next spring as the temperatures rise. It is always best to mimic a slow steady rain when hand watering. A slow trickle of the hose for 30-40 minutes is ideal. Have you noticed insects or something unusual about your trees? If you are worried about disease you can always take a sample to your County Extension Office.